11th February 2016
It’s good to see the Prime Minister raising concerns about the cost of following football in the UK.
Responding to the growing public anger about ticket prices, David Cameron acknowledged in the Commons that “there is a problem” and he will look into it.
For over a year Virgin Media has argued that fans are getting a raw deal.
We’re backing newspapers like the Daily Mirror which are campaigning for fairer ticket prices at the turnstiles.
But ticket prices are just part of the problem.
The Premier League prevents TV companies from broadcasting all the live games in the UK. Out of 380 games this season, only 154 will be shown live this season.
This represents a double blow for fans.
They are unable to watch the majority of the games live on TV. And, by withholding the supply of many live TV games and selling on an exclusive basis, the Premier League pushes up the price.
The value of live TV rights has risen by 4,000% since 1992, with the most recent deal netting more than £5bn from the domestic rights. This is a price that customers and fans ultimately pay.
Regulator Ofcom is investigating the Premier League, following a complaint from Virgin Media. At the heart of the case is the fact that the Premier League claims the way it auctions the live TV rights benefits consumers and has itself determined that it is exempt from competition law.
Ofcom should call foul and help to deliver a fairer deal for fans.